Lifestyle & Culture

Dispatches’ Advance Notice Guide for Europe: 23 November 2017 Edition


Today is Thanksgiving for the few American expats in Europe who still celebrate, where turkey, American football, NBA basketball, and parades rule the day.

Then, the consumerist bloodlust of Black Friday dominates the evening and into the following day, and it’s infecting Europe, too.

But why worry about all of that when you’ve got a lot to look forward to, including Christmas markets, music festivals, major motorsport events, and so much more! We’ve got your guide to such happenings in this week’s Advance Notice Guide for Europe.

Let’s go!


Amsterdam – Amsterdam Light Festival: Start your Christmas season right with the sixth annual Amsterdam Light Festival next Thursday through 21 January 2018.

The canals and city streets in the heart of Amsterdam will come to life with more than 40 light sculptures from Dutch and international artists — including a light object by Chinese artist and activist Ai WeiWei — all evoking this year’s theme, “Existential.”

Whether on foot or on a canal cruise, you’ll definitely see the Netherlands’ most famous city in different light as the sun sets on 2017.

Bad Goisern am Hallstättersee – Krampuslauf: In the United States, naughty children become President, their stockings filled with delusions of grandeur and a flock of Minuteman missiles ready to turn North Korea into the world’s largest glass sculpture with a single 240-character tweet at 3 in the morning.

In the Netherlands, a racist caricature whisks naughty children off to Spain to prevent Catalonians from bidding adios to Madrid… and maybe attend foam parties in Ibiza, too.

But in Austria, Czechia and Germany, naughty children are condemned to burn in Hell for all eternity WHEN THE KRAMPUS COMES TO TOWN ROOOOOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRRR!!!!

Every December, roving bands of Krampus — half-goat, half-demon, all-blackened death metal eldritch abominations… or just drunk people in costume, usually — follow behind St. Nicholas to flog and snatch every naughty person they can find (well, not snatch, but scare the little ones while flogging the adults with birch twigs) in many an Austrian, Czech, and German town, including Austria’s own Bad Goisern am Hallstättersee, home of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hallstatt Dachstein Salzkammergut.

The festivities begin 17:00 on 7 December, the terror follows at 18:30.

Barcelona – Total Records. Vinyl & photography: Album art fans should head off to Barcelona’s Fundació Foto Colectania for its upcoming exhibition, Total Records. Vinyl & photography.

Now through 11 March 2018, Total Records “shows a selection of covers of the most emblematic vinyl records of all times, the result of a collaboration between prominent photographers and artists.”

Works by Anton Corbijn, Nobuyoshi Araki, Herb Ritts, Annie Leibovitz and more — covering subjects such as Grace Jones, U2, Madonna, Serge Gainsbourg, Iggy Pop, and Kraftwerk — will be on display during the exhibition.

Admission to the gallery is €4.

Berlin – Lost – 48 Hours Artfestival: By mid-December 2017, the Willner Brewery in the heart of Berlin will become a fading memory, the result of a booming real estate market.

Before this happens, though, the brewery will host its final art festival, Lost – 48 Hours Artfestival, from 18:00 to 18:00 15 through 17 December. The 3000 m2 space will host 80 artists involved in three exhibitions, while performances and talks take place on two stages, and electronic music from three Berlin-based labels fills the air.

And the best part? Admission is free; all you need to do is register.

Brussels – Plaisirs d’Hiver 2017: For five weeks near the end of the year, Brussels’ City Centre becomes a Christmas wonderland during the city’s annual Plaisirs d’Hiver.

A large Christmas tree at the Grand Place is the centerpiece of the setting, which also includes an ice-skating rink, Ferris wheel, merry-go-rounds, light installations, and even an exhibition on the history of Pompeii through its demise in 79 AD. And of course, shopping for days.

The festivities begin this Friday with a parade at the Grand Place at 18:00, and continues until New Year’s 2017/2018. The website is in French and Dutch (the latter under the name Winter Pret), so Google Translate will be your best bet.

Brussels – Be Film Festival: If you want to see the best in Belgian cinema, the 13th edition of the Be Film Festival is for you.

Taking place at Palais des Beaux-Arts and La Cinémathèque Royale in Brussels from 19 through 24 December, the annual film festival “offers a cinematographic and festive meeting in the company of some of the leading lights of Belgian cinema.”

A number of the films on the programme have already been seen at some of the biggest film festivals in Europe, including Cannes, Berlin, and Venice, so you can see them again or catch them for the first time.

A pass to the Be Film Festival is €20 through 12 December, €28 from 13 December. Tickets to the opening ceremony — featuring the film Une Part d’ombre by Samuel Tilman — are €8 through 12 December, €10 from 13 December. Tickets for individual screenings will be available online soon, ranging between €4 for screenings at Cinematek, and €7 at BOZAR.

Cologne – Christmas Avenue: Cologne is Germany’s LGBTQIA+ capital, so it only makes sense there would be a gay and lesbian Christmas market among the handful of Christmas markets in the heart of Cologne.

From this coming Monday through 23 December 2017, look for the pink and purple chalets anchored between Schaafenstraße und Pilgrimstraße.

Each will be filled with gifts unlike any other, from pink nutcrackers to purple pottery. Live music and other live performances occur at the stage at the far end of the market.

Copenhagen – Christiana Christmas Market: Within the heart of Copenhagen is Freetown Christiania, a self-proclaimed anarchist autonomous city housed in the former military barracks of Bådsmandsstræde and parts of the city ramparts, home to around 1,000 residents.

The city is the fourth-largest tourist attracting in Copenhagen, and is the mascot for Denmark as Amsterdam is for the Netherlands: that of a free, progressive society where you can do nearly anything you want.

For almost as long as Christiana has existed – it was founded in the early 1970s – the city has hosted an annual Christmas bazaar every December in The Grey Hall.

More than 100 stalls filled with handmade gifts, clothes, jewelry, decorations, and more await visitors to this anarchist enclave from 6 through 20 December.

Deventer – Dickens Festijn: Expats in the Netherlands know about this. For the rest of you, the Netherlands has this obsession at Christmas time with the author of A Christmas Carol.

For example, our own Terry and Cheryl went to a festival in Thorn last year and guess what? There was an entire village of people dressed up as characters from the Christmas classic greeting visitors. They thought it was cool, to say the least.

You, too, can experience the Dutch Dickens 16 and 17 December in Deventer, which is about 60 miles east of Amsterdam. This is about more than A Christmas Carol. This festival encompasses the whole charming town of Deventer. About 900 characters from Dickens’ novels come to life, including those from Oliver Twist and his first novel, The Pickwick Papers.

This is a huge deal, with a Dickens Museum and big celebrations in several locations including a theater. And about 125,000 visitors show up each year for a bit of the Christmas spirit. And if this doesn’t do it for you, nothing will!

One tiny detail: You can expect to wait about an hour in line to get into the village at the height of the festival. It’s that popular.

There are dinner and hotel packages if you want to make it a weekend.

Frankfurt – Frankfurt Christmas Market: the Frankfurt Christmas Market from this coming Monday through 22 December 2017.

The market is one of the largest in all of Germany, taking place near the River Main on the Römerberg and St Paul’s Square; it’s also one of the oldest, originating in 1393. (Though of course, everything in Frankfurt was rebuilt after World War II.)

Every year, over 3 million explore more than 200 stalls at the market, filled with Christmas gifts and goodies galore. Concerts, Nativity scenes, a brass band playing Christmas carols and chorales, and more come together to bring holiday cheer to one and all.

Geneva – Geneva Lux Festival: The city of Geneva, Switzerland will be awash in light when the Geneva Lux Festival returns next Friday through 14 January 2018.

An initiative of the Mayor of Geneva since 2014, artists from around the world will bring their festive light installations to the heart of the city, including: Jardin Anglais; Rue de Rhône; Place Bel-Air; Place Longemalle; Ile Rousseau; Rue de Mont-Blanc; and Place Simon Goulard. Six new installations will be among the 22 on display this year.

And the best part? Admission is free.

Helsinki – Slush: The sun may have gone down early, but don’t let it go down on your startup dreams. Take them to Slush in Helsinki, Finland next Thursday and Friday.

Despite the ice and snow bound to be around when you land in the Finnish capital, more than 2,300 startups, 1,100 venture capitalists, and 600 journalists from over 120 countries came to Slush in 2016 to drive business, and to experience the phenomenal atmosphere (and not just the northern lights).

This year, 17,500 people are expected in Helsinki for Slush, demonstrating that Europe is bumping up against The Valley as the dominant tech center.

There will also be some heavy, heavy hitters giving speeches at the startup extravaganza, including: author, filmmaker, and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore (who will open Slush 2017); Mood Rowghani from the original Sand Hill Road VC Kliener Perkins; Trivago founder Rolf Schrömgens; Mark Pincus (Zynga); Illkka Paanenen (Supercell); Nicholas Brusson (BlaBlaCar); Monique Woodard from 500 Startups; and Kat Manalac from Y Combinator.

With that kind of star power, this ain’t gonna be cheap; tickets to Slush 2017 start at €395 for startups. Don’t delay, either: the Conference and Executive passes have already sold out, and Startup and Investor passes are almost sold out, as well.

London – Greenwich Winter Time Festival: Christmas and London go together like Scrooge and epiphanies, and if you ever wanted to be the first to experience some of that British Christmas magic along with a few thousand others, then the first-ever Greenwich Winter Time Festival is for you and yours.

Held on the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College from 1 through 31 December, “London’s new contemporary festival” packs brings together “all the best traditions of the season packed full with contemporary twists” against the the backdrop of Cutty Sark and the River Thames for “the perfect Christmas destination.” The festival’s daily schedule is divided into three three-hour sessions, each filled with ice skating performances, live music, buskers, a curated Christmas market, and lots of holiday cheer to go around.

Tickets to any session during the first-ever Greenwich Winter Time Festival range from £15 (€17) adult and £8 (€9.03) child admission, to a full festival package for a family of four for £65 (€74).

London – Christmas at Kew: Celebrate the holiday season under the sparkle of over 1 million lights draped over heritage trees and buildings during Christmas at Kew at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew now through New Year’s Day 2018.

This year, the annual display has a new mile-long trail through the garden, where trees will sing to you while lights dance under the ethereal waters of the garden’s lake. Little ones can also see Santa and his elves hard at work, while the adults can warm up with some mulled wine or hot chocolate.

Tickets to see this magical wonderland range from free for those under four, to £60 (€68) for a family ticket.

Luxembourg City – Luxembourg Light Festival: Another light festival to add to the calendar, this time the Luxembourg Light Festival in Luxembourg City 15 through 17 December from 18:00 to 23:00 each night.

Organised by the City of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg City Tourist Office, the light festival will feature artists from all over the world “exposing their light artworks along a set itinerary along the various sights of the city”; this map will help you along the way.

Should you wish to book a guided tour, though, you can do so here for €12; the price includes a drink voucher at the Christmas market at Place d’Armes.

Munich – Tollwood Winter Festival: For 10 years, the biannual Tollwood Festival has been bringing concerts, performances and exhibitions to the center of Munich, one of Europe’s most exciting cities. The music and arts festival occurs in the summer and winter, the latter occurring now through 31 December.

This year, the festival topics focus on mobility and a sustainable culture of mobility. The Tollwood theme is “Culture for all”; as a consequence, about 70 percent of all events at each Tollwood Festival has free admission, including entrance into the festival grounds.

This year, one of the big attractions is Cirque Èloize from Montreal; tickets can be purchased here. Their show iD is about the fight against the anonymity of megacities, according to the Tollwood website. The show is a mashup of West Side Story, hip hop, ballet, breakdancing, and poetry.

There are a ton of other events, many of which are in German only; check the calendar here.

Oslo – Nobel Peace Prize Concert: Held annually on 11 December to celebrate the year’s Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway’s Telnor Arena brings the best in jazz, pop, blues, rock, classical and more to the stage.

In the past, the concert has seen the likes of Ofra Haza, Joan Osbourne, Phil Collins, Willie Nelson, and Sting take the stage, with hosts like Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Helen Mirren, and Anthony Hopkins keeping things going. This year’s lineup includes Alan Walker, Sigrid, Zara Larsson, and headliner John Legend; the host will be named soon.

Tickets to the 24th edition of the Nobel Peace Prize Concert range from NOK 150 to NOK 1245 (€16 – €132).

Paris – Salon du Cheval de Paris: Love the ponies? Then you need to mark this Saturday through 3 December on your calendar, then head over to the Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre for the 2017 edition of Salon du Cheval de Paris.

At the largest equestrian event in all of France, more than 150,000 visitors will see 450 exhibitors and about 2,300 horses over the course of the nine-day event.

The festival kicks off with the Nuit de Cheval, “an artful blend of equestrian show and high-level sporting achievement,” and is one of three key events along with the World Arabian Horse Championship and the Paris Longines Masters.

Weekday tickets to Salon du Cheval de Paris range from €8 for those between 6 and 12, to €14 for full admission; weekend admission ranges between €8 and €18, €48 for a family pass.

Prague – Czech Design Week: Western Europe can’t have all of the fun when it comes to design! Head over to Hybernská 4 in Prague this coming Monday through next Sunday for Czech Design Week.

Established and young independent designers from Czechia and around the world will present their talents to the public under the roof of Hybernská 4, each designer telling their story behind what they’ve done.

Tickets to Czech Design Week are CZK 150 (€6), CZK 70 (€3) for students and children under 15.

Saalbach-Hinterglemm – RaveOnSnow Festival: The RaveOnSnow Festival bills itself as the “ultimate mountain-top party,” occurring near Salzburg, Austria in Saalbach-Hinterglemm from 14 through 17 December.

The music is non-stop EDM from around 50 acts, headlined by DJs Sven Väth, Ben Klok, Boris Brejcha, and Extrawelt.

To get to the snow-covered rave in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, you must first fly into Salburg, then board a train or flag a taxi; or head over to Munich to hitch a ride on RaveOnSnow party bus.

Weekend tickets to RaveOnSnow start at €85, while the weekend and Thursday will set you back an additional €10; single-day tickets are also available.

Stockholm – Spanska Filmfestivalen: Looking for a bit of Spanish cinema to keep you warm on those long Scandinavian nights? Why not check out the eighth annual Spanska Filmfestivalen (Spanish Film Festival på svenska) at Stockholm’s Kulturhuset Stadsteatern 6 through 10 December.

Organized by Instituto Cervantes since the beginning, Spanska Filmfestivalen has a full programme of Spanish films in every genre, with a strong emphasis on comedic works — gotta laugh the midnight-sun blues away, after all. Film on this year’s programme include: Selfie; Contratiempo; and No Culpes al Karma.

Tickets to each film are SEK 70 (€7.07), and can be purchased via the link above.

Vienna – Grand Christmas Gala: We have Christmas markets, Christmas festivals, Christmas horrorshows, so why not a Viennese ball, too? Coming to the Grand Hotel Wien 16 December is the 2017 edition of the Grand Christmas Gala.

Entertainment for the ball includes: violinist Barbara Helfgott; the “play of colors, light, movement, music and emotions presented with an expressive passion” of Joumana Dance Show; and live music to waltz to by Cheer Up!. As always, be sure to wear your finest ball gowns and tuxes, and get ready to dance the night away from 19:30 Saturday through the early morning hours on Sunday.

Tickets to the Grand Christmas Gala are €180 for the regular VIP package, €240 for the Super VIP package, which can either be purchased in-person at the organizer’s office, or via email at

Zurich – Silvesterlauf: If you’re in Zurich, Switzerland 10 December 2017, you might want to check out the Silvesterlauf.

The marathon began in 1977, taking inspiration from Brazil’s Corrida Internacional de São Silvestre, a road race held 10 minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Unlike the São Silvestre, though, the Silvesterlauf is held under the stars of a chilly winter night, more than 20,000 runners charging from the Limmatquai to the Kapplergasse through the heart of Zurich.

If you wish to run in the Silvesterlauf, online registration is available through 3 December; the schedule of fees (in CHF) is here.


Amsterdam – Valhalla Electronic Music Parade: Need some wubs in your life? Looking for a way to enter Valhalla without fighting a horde of fierce warriors? Want to start your Christmas a bit early?

Then head over to Amsterdam’s RAI Amsterdam 23 December for the 2017 edition of Valhalla Electronic Music Parade.

Take a journey through the “Circus of Myths” the night before Christmas Eve with a lineup of 37 headlined by: Fritz Kalkbrenner; Hot Since 82; Kölsch; Paco Osuna; Speedy J; and Yellow Claw.

Want to see your friends and loved ones in Valhalla? Tickets to the EDM carnival are €57.25, e-lockers are €7.50 and €9.50, depending on size.

Berlin – Berlin New Year’s Eve Party: Okay, Berlin has thousands of NYE parties at every club, bar and pils stubbe. But, the city also has a huge official New Year’s Eve Party that’s free and features big-name artists, both live bands and DJs.

Last year, they included Jermaine Jackson and Fun Factory. And of course, 2018 will be ushered in with a giant fireworks show.

Did we mention this is free?

There is one catch: As you can imagine, this is pretty popular and Politzie shut off the area once it gets to capacity. Berlin New Year’s Eve Party is literally in the middle of the city on a two-kilometer long stretch of Straße des 17. Juni between Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column.

The “official” party doesn’t start till 19:00, but the area is open during the day and you can stroll down the Straße des 17. Juni and watch rehearsals.

Berlin – Tanztage Berlin: And after the confetti has been cleaned up, you can check out Tanztage Berlin at the Sophiensaele from 4 through 14 January 2018. For 10 days, the annual dance festival features the best in contemporary dance from up-and-coming choreographers and their dancers.

The 27th edition will include two performances by Greek artists as part of the festival’s partnership with the Young Choreographers Festival in Athens. The forum “Let’s Talk About Dance” presents an opportunity for feedback from the audience following specific performances.

Tickets for most events range between €10 and €14; the feedback forum is free to attend. The programme and ticket purchasing information can be had here.

Eindhoven – Sushi Festival Eindhoven: Bayonetta once said it wasn’t Christmas without caviar. Would my favorite Umbra Witch consider sushi as a Christmas delicacy, as well?

You might after attending Sushi Festival Eindhoven in Eindhoven, Netherlands 23 and 24 December. Sushi stands, workshops, chefs, and more await your senses a mere 48 hours before Sinterklaas and/or the Krampus come to visit your house!

Tickets to Sushi Festival Eindhoven range from €10.50 to €26.50, depending on how much you love your sushi.

London – London Short Film Festival: From 12 through 21 January 2018, the 15th annual London Short Film Festival will present a full programme of the best in cutting-edge independent short films from the United Kingdom and the world, along with workshops and live music.

No details have been announced thus far, but you’ll definitely want to start your new year right with this film festival.

Vienna – Hofburg Silvesterball: Ring in the New Year in your most fabulous ball attire at the Hofburg Silvesterball 31 December, held at Hofburg Vienna (Imperial Palace).

What to expect during the Silvesterball? “Top-class performers from Vienna’s opera houses, big-name bands and orchestras, as well as catchy rhythms from waltz to jazz to dj sounds,” as well as “a fantastic midnight show and a firework display above the old town.”

Tickets to ring in the new year at the Hofburg Silvesterball range from €165 for access to all ballrooms and a glass of sparkling wine during the welcome portion of the ball, to €720 for a seat reservation in the Festhaal with a four-course meal w/ red or white wine and mineral water, and a glass of champagne for when the clock strikes 2018.

The festivities start at 18:30, and continues until 4:00 the following year.


Barcelona – Primavera Sound: Barcelona’s Parc del Fòrum will come to life late May and early June with the 2018 edition of Primavera Sound, scheduled for 30 May through 3 June 2018.

Since 2001, Primavera has blown the minds of many with the vast collection of pop, indie, and electronic sounds to have graced the festival’s stages, including: Front 242; The Afghan Whigs; Queens of the Stone Age; Nine Inch Nails; LCD Soundsystem; and Mazzy Star.

Though no lineup has been announced for the 2018 edition of Primavera — which will also occur the following weekend in Porto, Portugal — tickets are available for €180 for a full festival ticket, €400 for a full VIP festival ticket.

Basel – Art Basel: The travelling art festival known as Art Basel returns to its namesake home of Basel, Switzerland 14 through 17 June 2018. Over 290 art galleries come together to show the works of over 4,000 artists from around the world. It’s a must-attend if you’re a fan of modern and contemporary art. More information to come as time marches on.

Budapest – Sziget Festival: In 1993, a small music festival was established in Budapest, Hungary on the island of Óbudai-sziget, meant to be a low-cost affair for local students.

Twenty-five years later, Sziget Festival has grown to be one of the biggest music festivals in Eastern Europe, if not the entire continent; it has won the Best Major European Festival category twice during the European Festival Awards in 2011 and 2014.

More than half a million guests – spread out over several days– attend the multi-day festival annually, all coming from the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and, of course, Hungary to see the likes of Prince, Iron Maiden, R.E.M., Fatboy Slim, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and so many more major artists rock the stages.

Not much is happening so far for the 2018 edition of Sziget, though you can sign up for their newsletter to learn who will be announced over the next few months. In the meantime, be sure to mark off 8 through 15 August 2018 on your calendar so you don’t miss out on one of Europe’s biggest festivals.

Cologne – Amphi Festival: Get ready to welcome the dark within in 2018 at the Amphi Festival in Cologne, Germany!

The two-day dark music festival on the Tanzbrunnen has hosted a number of electronic, gothic, and alternative artists over the past 13 editions, including Project Pitchfork, And One, Front 242, and Skinny Puppy.

The 14th edition — scheduled for 28 and 29 July 2018 — has a few acts already on the bill thus far, including: And One; Assemblage 23; Funker Vogt; Oomph!; [:SITD:]; and Soviet Soviet; 29 acts have announced as of this writing.

Tickets to the 14th Amphi Festival are €82 for a two-day pass.

Gdynia – Open’er Festival: Eastern Europe needs more attention in these guides, so here’s another rock festival in the region for your consideration: the Open’er Festival in Gdynia, Poland from 4 through 7 July 2018.

Originally known as Open Air Festival (and held in Warsaw from 2002 through 2005), tonnes of big names have graced the stages of Open’er over the years, including: Lorde; Radiohead; LCD Soundsystem; Drake; Pearl Jam; Rihanna; Prince; and Muse.

It’s a while yet before the 2018 lineup is announced, but you can get your early-bird tickets right now for PLN 379 – PLN 579 (€90 – €137), depending on how many days and/or whether or not you want to camp at the festival.

n’er over the years, including: Lorde; Radiohead; LCD Soundsystem; Drake; Pearl Jam; Rihanna; Prince; and Muse.

It’s a while yet before the 2018 lineup is announced, but you can get your early-bird tickets right now for PLN 379 – PLN 579 (€90 – €137), depending on how many days and/or whether or not you want to camp at the festival.

Geneva – Geneva International Motor Show: Once the annual auto show season passes through Detroit and Chicago, the circus leaps across the Atlantic to Geneva, Switzerland for the annual Geneva International Motor Show, scheduled for 8 through 18 March 2018.

Geneva hold the distinction as being the only auto show recognized by the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles to occur annually in Europe (Frankfurt rotates between production and commercial vehicles year by year, and Paris is held every two years), and is one of the top five auto shows in the world. And in an ode to Swiss neutrality, Geneva is considered a level playing field for the world’s automakers, as Switzerland doesn’t have an auto industry of its own.

Tickets to Geneva are CHF 16 (€14) CHF 9 (€8) for those between 6 and 16. Online sales are scheduled for early December, just in time to be a Christmas gift for the motorhead in your life.

The Hague – Grauzone Festival: What better way to spend a chilly winter evening at The Hague, Netherlands than at the fifth edition of the Grauzone Festival? The festival is “a multidisciplinary underground festival” with “a diverse and cutting-edge programme where music, film and art complement each other.”

The programme in question “consists of performances by (international) bands and DJ’s” — including this year’s lineup (to date) of Cabaret Voltaire, Michael Gira, and Dune Messiah — “a symposium with lectures and interviews, an exhibition and a film program.” A pre-party the night before rounds out the programme, with a lineup to be announced soon.

Regular admission tickets to the fifth annual Grauzone Festival are now available for €35. The festival occurs 10 February 2018.

Hildesheim – M’era Luna: If you have plans to be in Hildesheim, Germany next August, why not join the wave of goths, headbangers, and rivetheads descending upon the Drispenstedt airfield (formerly occupied by the British Army) for one of the biggest dark music festivals in Europe, M’era Luna! The annual festival attracts between 20,000 and 25,000 fans every year, all coming out to see artists like: The Sisters of Mercy; Fields of the Nephilim; Killing Joke; Placebo; Skinny Puppy; and Ministry.

Pre-sale tickets to the 2018 edition of M’era Luna range from €15 for a camper badge, to €429 for a place among three other friends at the Gothic Garden Ganymed. There’s no lineup announced yet (you’ll find the lineup for the 2017 edition on the website), but it won’t be long before the first artists are made known. The 2018 edition of M’era Luna will occur 11 and 12 August 2018.

Jyväskylä – Rally Finland: If you ever wanted to experience rallying, there’s no better way than to head up to Jyväskylä, Finland in late July for the annual Rally Finland.

Dubbed the Finnish Grand Prix because of the fast speeds the stages allow, Rally Finland began in 1951 as a way to select Finnish entrants into the Rallye Monte-Carlo. The rally became part of the FIA World Rally Championship during the WRC’s debut season 1973 and has contributed nine of the 10 fastest WRC events to the record books since then.

A pass to Rally Finland 2018 — held from 26 to 29 July 2018 — is €75, and will be mailed in June 2018. Once you are any of the rally stages, pay attention to your surroundings! The Citroëns, Fords, Hyundais and Toyotas will buzz by you at 130 kph (80 mph); it is not worth injury or death for a closer look of the action coming toward you.

Nürburg and Nuremburg – Rock am Ring and Rock im Park: Nearly three weeks after the roar of the N24 comes two of Germany’s biggest music festivals ready to ring your ears: Rock am Ring and Rock im Park 1 through 3 June 2018. The am Ring returned to the Nürburgring in 2017 after a two-year absence, while the concurrent im Park rocks the free world at nearby Zeppelinfeld in Nuremberg.

Together, am Ring and im Park pull over 150,000 fans together annually to watch around 80 performers bring the noise. The 2018 lineup — shared with both festivals — thus far includes: A Perfect Circle; Body Count; Foo Fighters; Gorillaz; Marilyn Manson; and Walking On Cars.

Tickets start from €169 for a weekend festival ticket at am Ring, €219 for a weekend camping ticket at im Park.

Paris – Le Tour de France: Only the most famous multi-stage bicycle race in the world, the month-long Le Tour de France is three weeks of pain, endurance, and victory over 21 stages and 3,500 kilometres.

Born from a fight in 1903 between two French newspapers over the Dreyfus Affair, Le Tour has seen its share of conflict and scandal in the 115 years since then, including anything and everything related to disgraced ex-champion Lance Armstrong.

If you’re wondering how to watch any of the stages in 2018, this route map should help. From there, rally spectating rules (mostly) apply, as the 22 teams and 198 riders are followed by motorized support crews and police. We say mostly because some “fans” just want to watch the world burn, interfering with the competition however they can.

The 2018 Tour kicks off 7 July 2018 with the Grand Départ from Noirmoutier-en-l’Île to Fontenay-le-Comte, located in the Pays-de-la-Loire region in west-central France. Twenty-one stages later, the riders will roll through the Champs-Élysées in Paris to finish Le Tour 29 July 2018.

To Top

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest news and updates from Dispatches Europe. Get lifestyle & culture, startup & tech, jobs and travel news dispatched to your inbox each week. Keep up with what's going on in Europe. Everything Expat.

You have Successfully Subscribed!